But his triumph could scarcely be more hollow. The atrocities of the past few weeks have been so unspeakable and the electoral chicanery so egregious that no one, possibly not even President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, will grant him the halo of an elected leader.
This is a crucial moment. All the signs are that election observers from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Pan-African Parliament will denounce Mr Mugabe's re-election for the travesty it was.
This has never happened before. Mr Mugabe only let these observers into his country because they have blithely approved every previous poll - including
Their condemnation of the contest, if it comes, will be a stinging blow. The first consequence will probably be the unprecedented spectacle of African leaders declining to recognise Mr Mugabe's victory. Even Mr Mbeki, who has exasperated everyone with his indulgence of
On Monday night,
So, however much he celebrates his "victory", Mr Mugabe may find that no one else views him as